IFP Supports Call by Deputy Minister of Agriculture to Investigate Corruption in the Agriculture Industry

The Inkatha Freedom Party says it fully supports the call made by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele that an anti-corruption unit should be established to investigate corruption in the agricultural industry.

”Recently we have once again submitted written questions to the KZN MEC of Agriculture, Themba Mthembu to seek a detailed expenditure report about the overall status of tractors handed over by his department to different communities around the province, and the tractor’s maintenance thereof. We asked similar questions to the former KZN MEC of Agriculture, Dr Meshack Radebe but have not received any response to date. Now we feel vindicated by these comments made by Deputy Minister Cele,’’ said IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Agriculture, Mr Nhlanhla Msimango MPL.

“We are also not shocked about the discovery of rotten seedlings at Cato Ridge Agricultural office and tractors that are sitting idle and covered by grass because corruption in the department of agriculture is rampant.

A forensic investigation has been launched into how the KwaZulu-Natal government spent more than R200-million of its drought-relief budget‚ which was meant as relief for subsistence farmers and struggling smallholder farmers‚ as well as bigger commercial farmers. The money was earmarked for livestock and water harvesting‚ the scooping of dams and the rehabilitation of boreholes across the province‚ as well as for an aggressive de-worming campaign and the provision of hay and feed.

Additionally‚ almost R60-million in taxpayers’ money meant to assist emerging farmers in rural areas around the province has not been accounted for‚ despite it being uncovered by another forensic report five years ago. The forensic report‚ commissioned by former agriculture MEC Meshack Radebe in 2012‚ and which cost the province R10m‚ was completed in February 2014‚ but has not been released to the public.

Thieves must be sent to jail. They must be punished. Corruption has led to gross misuse of public funds in KZN and has caused untold hardship to its citizens due to lack of provision of basic services. Deterrent punishment should be given to corrupt public servants as graft has become a deep-rooted problem in our society. Furthermore, the leadership need to be strong and determined to support anti-corruption agencies to deal with the transgressors at all tiers of government,” concluded Mr Msimango.

Issued by:
Mr Nhlanhla Msimango MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Agriculture
074 259 0820